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McCarthy welcomes Campbell's return as she bids to stake claim for Sweden

The Galway defender is part of the Ireland squad whose Pinatar Cup campaign begins tomorrow afternoon.

Savannah McCarthy pictured during Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.
Savannah McCarthy pictured during Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

SAVANNAH MCCARTHY HOPES to use Ireland’s campaign at the Pinatar Cup as a springboard for a role in the forthcoming clash with Sweden.

Having been a major success story for the Girls in Green in 2021, McCarthy accepts that she’ll have to fight for a spot in Vera Pauw’s team.

The Galway defender is part of the 27-player squad for the tournament in Spain, which begins for Ireland with a game against Poland tomorrow afternoon (2.30pm Irish time).

The camp serves as preparation for the World Cup qualifier against the Swedes, which is scheduled for 12 April in Gothenburg.

McCarthy ended a five-year wait for her sixth international cap against Australia last September. However, being omitted for the visit of Georgia to Tallaght Stadium in November was a reminder of the intensity of the competition for places in Pauw’s defence. 

“I had a conversation with Vera and I was happy with what she went with,” McCarthy says of Diane Caldwell’s return to the team at her expense for the record-breaking 11-0 win. “I have great respect for her and she’s been great to me since I came in.”

After being impressed by McCarthy in a home-based training session last year, Pauw drafted the 24-year-old into her squad and rewarded her with four consecutive starts.

“When I started off with Galway, I was just trying to get myself back into the Irish set-up or even get in the eye of Vera,” the former Glasgow City player says.

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“It came around so quickly. I think I had to wait until the season was over to actually reflect on how well I did to get myself into the squad, and then get myself into the XI for the three or four games that I played. Personally it was fantastic, but I’m just hoping that 2022 can be better again.”

With the injury-plagued Megan Campbell – aiming to win her first cap since October 2019 – also adding to the defensive options, McCarthy knows that events in Spain over the course of the next week are likely to influence team selection for the meeting with Sweden, which will see Ireland resume their efforts to reach a first major tournament.

“In every training session I always give it 100% – that’s the type of player I am,” the Kerry native says. “At the end of the day, we have 27 fantastic players in the group so anybody could play.

“Having Megan back in, Megan’s great. Everyone knows what Megan’s capable of and what she has, so it’s good for us as a team.”

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Paul Dollery

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